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Open Letters to the Stars of Twilight

Kristen,

Look at you these days! Struttin’ around in Louboutins you only wear once before your stylist drops off another pair outside your hotel room! I gotta say, I’m impressed. You’ve gone from playing a diabetic girl who locks herself in a “panic” room to a teenager who falls in love with a vampire and a werewolf at the same time. Look how far you’ve come!

K-Stew, you only do a few things, but you do them very well. Over the course of your career you’ve become an expert on angst, confusion, insecurity, and being an obnoxious teenager who thinks she’s the only high schooler to paint in her basement when she’s upset (a la In the Land of Women). But lucky for you, your skill set happens to be something screenwriters love highlighting in their scripts: the brown-eyed girl with the scowl. So in a way, you’ve baby-proofed yourself from this recession you know nothing about! Hasn’t anyone hooked you up with an honorary degree from somewhere yet?

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But you don’t have to continue playing the same Bella Swan over and over in order to establish yourself as an actress. In fact, it’d be better if you stretched those pasty arms of yours a little bit and used your perfect pouts to cement yourself as the icon of despair by taking other roles. For instance, have you considered playing a person with kidney failure, like Julia Roberts did in Steel Magnolias, or terminal cancer, like Susan Sarandon in Stepmom? Can’t you just see it now? Your face was made to convey pain, not multi-species love! You should be propped up on a gurney the hospital let you take home with a cool washcloth on your head, trying to figure out whether to take the treatment or to reject it! You and your quivering lower lip and your head tilts would have audiences so sad they’d mistake their fingers for kernels of popcorn!

Or, how about signing on to do an indie-ized romantic comedy, where the two main characters (you and presumably some other dude) just cannot get it together to save your lives and the french toast on the stove? I suspect you signed on to do Adventureland with playing this kind of role in mind, but quite honestly … “spunky girl rebelling against her rich father” isn’t nearly as much in your wheelhouse as a disturbed girl whose boyfriend sparkles. Or at least, not yet it isn’t! But it would be if you practiced by taking part in something like Zooey Deschanel’s role in 500 Days of Summer, where you endlessly push the poor guy away and remind him you’ll never love him as much as you love your dog and your matching salt and pepper shakers, or something. You’d be the girl who constantly puts her boyfriend down, and he takes it because he’s determined you to be the vessel that bears his children. The character itself would be sad, but you’d be playing it in newer and less conventional ways.

Kristen, the bottom line is you’ve aligned yourself with a phenomenon that’s catapulting you to an area of super-stardom, but you and your abilities don’t warrant such notoriety yet. The only way to change that is to step up your game and expand upon what you do well, which is look miserable. A girl as unfortunate enough to be in love with a vampire isn’t the most tragic character you can play: you should focus on playing a character on the precipice of certain death! The Academy is bound to recognize you quicker than if you keep up this “Bite me, Edward!” thing.

Much love,

Hannah Lawrence

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Dear Taylor,

You’re in a delicate situation, Mr. Lautner, as a young actor exiting a major franchise. There are people who have made the transition to a successful career, like Harrison Ford or Natalie Portman, but for every one who does there are hundreds who spend the rest of their lives as the drunken fodder for Dancing With The Stars and VH1 reality shows. Usually for a young actor in your situation, I would suggest that you try to get back to some serious, basic acting. Take a few roles in mumble-core indie films, or really any film that isn’t a masturbatory fantasy for tweens, and try to built up your reputation as an actor rather than a walking, talking six-pack. That’s the safe, smart path to take, and could lead you to a successful career playing love interests, a la Patrick Dempsey, or as Hollywood’s token non-threatening and vaguely ethnic guy. But you, Mr. Lautner, have a great deal more potential than the average boy-toy.

Of the entire cast of Twilight, you are the one with the most career options. That might surprise you, Mr. Lautner — you might think that Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart are more likely to succeed, but that would be overlooking one of your fundamental strengths. Namely, that nobody hates you or wants you to die. That alone puts you miles ahead of R-Pats and K-Stew, who even have homicide-inducing nicknames. In fact, most people over 20 don’t really know who you are, and you do seem like a nice enough kid. Robert and Kristen would kill for that kind of apathy! So this puts you in a strange position, and leaves you with the most simple yet unlikely opportunity: you have a chance to leave.

If you’re sick of the whole fame game, the endless torment of having people pay attention to you and give you things, you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to escape from that hell, before you become entrenched as tabloid-fodder forever. Just think, it’s like your mom told you in kindergarden: you can do whatever you want with your life, as long as you set your mind abs to it and work hard spend a lot of money. Think of the endless possibilities for someone with your talents! You could be a shirtless fireman! Or a shirtless lumberjack! Or even a shirtless astronaut!

Heck, you could even go back to having a normal life. You can settle down, move to Jersey, become a dentist. And every once in a while one of your patients will go “Hey, weren’t you in that movie? With the twinkly fairies or something?” and you’ll nod, modestly, and go on cleaning her teeth, and she’ll leave with a good story to tell her book club. Maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll have a wife and kids of your own. And one day, your youngest daughter will develop an obsessive, creepy crush on her own bland teen idol, and will buy a pair of underpants with his face on the crotch. It’s like the circle of life.

With Warm Regards,

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Natalie Silverman

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Dear Robert,

First of all, congratulations on your success. You command the hearts of a veritable army of horny, confused tweens. Forbes just listed you as one of our most powerful celebrities, and the somewhat less respectable Time Magazine claims you are one of the 100 most influential people in the world! The world, Robert. Not even Kim Jong Il or the president of France made that list. Think of it.

You have the potential to go far. When you’re not sulking or pouting or staring vacantly (you did get your start as a male model, after all), you’re sort of surprisingly likable. While your Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart is uncomfortably incoherent and antagonistic in interviews, you manage to come off as relatively intelligent – even charming – if somewhat goofy. Your celebrity seems to have caught you by surprise, and we like that. While K-Stew is off comparing fame to rape, you act flattered and laugh it off. You’re well-adjusted.

Still, you’ve got to step up your game if you want it to last. Sure, you’ll keep getting roles for a while – you just finished shooting Bel Ami with Christina Ricci and Uma Thurman, and you’re in the middle of filming Water for Elephants with Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz. Someone has even gambled on your ability to convincingly speak Comanche in the upcoming indie western Unbound Captives with Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. But when The New York Times dismissed you as “a conceivably promising, certainly watchable actor in need of an immediate acting intervention,” I’m afraid I had to agree. If Remember Me taught us anything, other than how not to end a movie, it’s that your star will not last on the strength of your jawline alone. Those that burn brightest burn fastest, Robert.

As I see it, you have three options. First, you could go the romantic comedy route, and squeeze every last drop of celebrity capital from your Twilight success. You’ll rake in mountains of cash for a few years and then we’ll tire of you, as we tire of everything. You’ll wake up one day and realize you’ve been replaced by a suddenly hunky Jaden Smith. With your best years behind you, you’ll fade into obscurity a wealthy, spiritually unfulfilled husk of a man.

Or, skip a step and disappear right now! You’ve already got enough money, right? After Twilight: Breaking Dawn, make yourself scarce. Go back home to London, stay indoors, work on your songwriting for a while. Within a couple years you will be forgotten, allowing your marginally promising music career to gain some measure of legitimacy – especially if you get started on a good drug habit. But you’ve got bigger plans.

We both know what you really want: to be taken seriously as an actor. You want to be a real honest-to-god thespian, like Jude Law or Leonardo DiCaprio. But to build a respectable career, you’re going to have to take some fucking acting lessons. Sulking and agonized whispering do not an Oscar-winner make. We know you’ve got long-term potential Rob – far more than K-Stew or the wolf kid with the abs – but you’ve got to develop some range. Get back to your roots in theater, do some method acting, and in time we’ll forgive you for Edward Cullen.

Whatever you do, remember that celebrity is a fickle thing: all that stands between your being a dreamy heartthrob and “that pale douchebag” is one unfortunate scandal. You know, anti-Semitism or throwing things at people or heckling Black people. While a good sex scandal could go either way for you in the future, your biggest asset right now is your likability. Don’t give us a reason to hate you, and I know you’ll go far.

All the best,

Benjamin Landy

P.S. Listen to Les Grossman and don’t even think about washing your hair.

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